Oscar Noms: Surprises, No Shockers

oscarnomsavatar-hurt-locker-oscars_320The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, and, immediately, awards expert Rex Okpodu and I were on the Skype, going over the list. There were a few surprises (Maggie Gyllenhaal nommed for Best Supporting Actress, “Up” getting a Best Picture nom, Penelope Cruz nommed for the universally reviled “Nine”), but no shockers. The lists for major awards pretty well matched the various guild lists. “The Hurt Locker” should be considered the front-runner for the moment in the Best Picture race, because it got as many noms as “Avatar” (nine) and won the two most recent guilds (PGA, DGA). But it’s still five weeks till Oscar night (March 7), and anything can happen. “Avatar” is a success of titanic (and “Titanic”-capsizing) proportions, and for it to win Best Pic would allow Hollywood, and America, to feel good about themselves at a culturally and politically challenging time. The other close major race is in the Best Actress category, between Meryl (“Julie and Julia”) and Sandra (“The Blind Side”). Sandy should be feeling good about her chances, because “The Blind Side” got a Best Pic nom, and “Julie and Julia” didn’t. (If Meryl doesn’t win this year, it will mean 10 losses in a row; she would be justified in never showing her face again on Oscar night.) Other slight surprises in the list of 10 Best Pic nominees: “Up” and “The Serious Man.” Other quick notes: “The Last Station,” a movie I love, got noms for Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer, and “Invictus” got no Best Pic nom. Bottom line for Oscar night: don’t expect any movie to sweep: “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar” will both get around 5 wins each.

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